Written by Sebastien Balembois
In the 2010s, it appeared that Pusha T, formerly a part of rap duo Clipse with his brother No Malice, was going to undeservedly fly under the radar. That all changed with the release of Daytona in 2018. Produced by Kanye West during the “Wyoming sessions” that generated many other great albums and clocking in at only 21 minutes, Pusha’s third studio album, and fourth overall project, finally brought him much of the attention that evaded him for so long. The album was concise and showcased the effortless chemistry between Pusha T’s confident, demanding delivery and Kanye’s monumental, sample-heavy production.
That chemistry is also on display on Pusha’s new album It’s Almost Dry, although this time it is only on half the tracks. The other half of the tracks are produced by none other than Pharrell, Pusha’s old collaborator when he was in Clipse. The two have not collaborated on an album since 2013’s My Name Is My Name but they showed virtually no rust as they reunite here. Among the Pharrell produced highlights are the world-conquering “Let the Smokers Shine the Coupes” where he proclaims himself to be “Cocaine’s Dr. Seuss”, the icy “Neck & Wrist” which features a spaced-out hook from Pharrell himself along with a strong Jay-Z verse and the opener “Brambleton.”
Although the Pharrell tracks are great, the Kanye-produced tracks are even better in my opinion. The classic Ye chipmunk soul of “Dreamin’ of the Past” was awesome on first listen with its flawless sample of Donny Hathaway’s version of “Jealous Guy.” The same goes for “Just So You Remember” with its foreboding sample of Colonel Bagshot’s “Six Days War.” “Diet Coke,” co-produced by Kanye and 88-Keys, was the obvious first single with its persistent piano-led beat and Pusha’s memorable hook of “You ordered Diet Coke that’s a joke right?” Those are just a few of the Kanye-produced highlights as all 6 of the tracks he contributed show that he can still be an elite producer when he sets his mind to it (honestly, Donda had some impressive production too, but not many infectious tracks like the ones on here).
While It’s Almost Dry will likely take a backseat in the rap world to the new releases by Kendrick Lamar, Future and Jack Harlow that have come out in recent weeks, it is still nice to see him receive more recognition in the media. Pitting Pharrell vs. Kanye in an impressive display of production probably helped, and the album works sonically as a follow-up to Daytona. Pusha T remains consistent and here’s hoping that he drops another good album in the next couple of years.